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Former US House speaker Hastert paid to hide sexual misconduct

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This August 30, 2004 file photo shows US Speaker of the US House of Representatives Dennis Hastert addressing delegates at the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (AFP Photo)

Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who has been indicted on federal charges, agreed to pay money to an unnamed person to hide his past sexual misconduct.

Hastert was indicted on Thursday for pledging to pay $3.5 million in hush money to an individual from Yorkville where he was a longtime high school teacher from 1965 to 1981.

So far, he has paid $1.7 million to that person who had known Hastert for most of his life. The unnamed person was identified as individual A.

The Thursday indictment charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in small increments to avoid reporting requirements.

The Illinois Republican made a false statement to the FBI about the reason for the unusual withdrawals.

He told the FBI that the cash was for his own use. “Yeah, I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing,” the indictment quoted Hastert as telling FBI agents.

On Friday, the Los Angeles Times cited two unidentified federal law enforcement officials as saying the alleged misconduct was of a sexual nature and that it was not related to his public office.

"It goes back a long way, back to then. It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office," said one source.

The FBI and the Internal Revenue Service began their investigation in 2013, the Washington Post said, citing "possible structuring of currency transactions to avoid the reporting requirements."

Hastert served as the speaker of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007 and has also worked as a lobbyist in Washington since 2008.

He resigned from his position as a lobbyist at law and lobby firm Dickstein Shapiro following the indictment.

AT/GJH


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